Enough of the Gay Bashing! ENOUGH!

A MUST READ!!!

Disclaimer: This is not my writing, I am sharing it because it speaks so profoundly on the matter.

Enough of this Gay Bashing. Enough!
by KM on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 1:14pm

Let me state the bottom line upfront: I support gay people and their human rights and freedoms accorded to all (freedom from fear, freedom to live in dignity, freedom from want etc ) I will not stand by silently as the hateful debate about gays escalates. I am a christian woman and an African. I am a human being. I know and love many gay people. My church minister at Harvard was gay. One of my most important mentors is gay. I have worked and continue to work with the most intelligent and dynamic gay people. I have experienced sexism and racism. I have studied and researched genocides and purges based on specific intent to destroy “a group” of people. I refuse to be the silent bystander in this hate campaign.

The nomination of Willy Mutunga and Nancy Baraza as Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice has surfaced a debate about gay rights ( or as the case may be, non rights) Haters and homophobes have swarmed out of the woodwork and in places like facebook, email list serves ( e.g. KPTJ) and comments portals in newspapers (where many go by fake names), they express the most outrageous nuggets of ignorance and hate about homosexuals, their fellow Kenyans and human beings. Both Willy and Nancy are well respected human rights advocates who believe in the indivisibility of rights. Willy wears an ear ring on his left ear ( 🙂 ), and Nancy’s PHD thesis iis on the rights of homosexuals in East Africa. However, the debate is quite un informed and becoming increasingly uncivil.

The bias against homosexuals can escalate to murderous levels as we have witnessed in the recent killings of lesbians in South Africa. Threats against gay people and the folks who support them, is the subject of proposed legislation in Uganda and other places. The debate forms part of cultural , political , social and religious debates. Many human rights activists are afraid to take on advocacy on behalf of homosexuals because this is not “politically correct’ . You see, a friend told me yesterday , one’s social standing may be ruined by taking on too open a position on ‘these people’ . To paraphrase Peter J Gomes, ( Harvard Memorial Church Minister ) one’s stand on homosexuality detrmines one’s standing on society’s scale on virtues and values , making the topic almost undebatable.

So it’s a good thing Willly & Nancy happened and created this opportunity to re-engage the debate (always lurking under the surface) . For people who identify as christians, the homosexual debate is very alive and disturbing. The narrative of Sodom & Gommorrah, the law of Leviticus , the Deutronomic sanctions and the teachings of Paul provide ample ammunition to close the debate. Remember that Biblical text also had quite a bit to say about women ( 1 Cor 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2: 11-12) and slaves (Ephesians 6:5) We have been able to find redeeming texts in the Bible that equalise all children of God. If you read Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s sermons and speeches on gay people you will find these(I have pasted one of his speeches below) .

But we insist on making homosexuality only about sex, we diminish the life experiences of our fellow human beings. Nobody focuses on the sex lives of heterosexuals do they? Yet when we discuss homosexuality, it is always about the sex and especially the mechanics of it. Do heterosexuals have their minds in the gutter ALL the time?? “THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE’ have lives outside of sexual relationships. They have hobbies, homes, children,families, interests, jobs. They have full lives, doing important things that benefit heterosexuals perhaps even more than themselves. They don’t sit around thinking …”ahh ….mmmh…..I wonder when I’m gonna have my next homosexual experience”!

Friends, can we have a civil informed debate that illuninates and advances “ubuntuness”? Can we help stop the hate and fear ? I think It’s TIME to stand up and be counted against this injustice.

KM

_________________________

Desmond Tutu’s Speech (archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.)

Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity — or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong.

It is time to stand up against another wrong.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God’s family. And of course they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal, and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi, men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships with other men. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say, threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counseling services to all members of that community, because the clerics wanted gay men excluded. “But they are sinners,” I can hear the preachers and politicians say. “They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished.” My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love his dark- or his light-skinned children less? The brave more than the timid? And does any of us know the mind of God so well that we can decide for him who is included, and who is excluded, from the circle of his love? The wave of hate must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.

*Over & Out*

Dear Mr Tractor Driver A.K.A Agwambo!

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Once in a while you come across some out of this world type of writings. Such as these!

Enjoy!

“Dear Hon., Professor, Mrs, his highness, councillor, referee, Dr.,Mr., tractor driver Agwambo Raila Odinga. We are glad that you might not be in the list of perpetrators of post election violence. We would
sell our souls to the devil to have your name expunged from that list.

RAILA ODINGA

Image by ActionPixs (Maruko) via Flickr

We are also grateful you have FULLY recovered from the surgical procedure you underwent to remove a brain tumour in your lungs, heart, brain and bones. We love you so much.

We also love the company you keep e.g. Anyang Nyong’o who uphold the human rights of everyone in this beautiful, peaceful, rich and democratic country in Kenya which is almost to be declared a superpower. We also love Ruto because of trying to extinguish the fire that burnt 30 human beings in a church in Kiambaa,
Eldoret. Its was bad enough the Eldoret municipality fire engine was late and kept Ruto waiting. It was a traumatic experience for Ruto and his tribesmen to see 30 people getting roasted in a church. Also, a lot of bibles were burn including the altar of god. The bible is not just holy but has entertaining fables that would make anyone (including muslims) burn the mid night oil to savour them.

We love the fact that you delivered the new constitution which was long overdue. May god shower you and your lovely kids and their spouses with an avalanche of blessings.

There is our very beautiful and hard working minister called Hon. E. Murugi. She is our friend and mother. Our sister and guardian. Please don’t attempt to sack her and pass the message to our very friendly president Kibaki (who has a track record in building our roads and giving us free (and compulsory) primary education. Thank him for the quality education in our schools).

Hon. Murugi did not do anything wrong except by saying some sexual proclivities are a vice. With the clergy demanding for her sacking, please tell them to create their own Min. of Special Programmes funded by their churches to do a better job than Murugi with regard to HIV programming for MARPs.

Yours in christ

Blah blah blah.”

*Over & Out*

Why The Hate?

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This weekend I was moving house. The move was a success and I am glad it went well.

Now, that’s not why I did this post using org resources. There is this one thing that came up from Friday and through the weekend.

Murugi urges Kenyans to accept gays

Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi told participants at a national symposium on HIV/Aids in Mombasa targeting homosexuals, lesbians and sex workers that the government had no option but to address the community’s concerns. (contd…)

When I read this story (but missed the TV version) I was elated. I thought to myself, “WOW! What a bold statement coming from a Cabinet minister! She must be really brave.” I also wondered to myself if at all she had thought through her decision to say this in public and also the aftermath with (for obvious reasons) would be coming her way. I also thought of the aftermath itself. The church would be furious… fuming like a mexican bull ready to charge with bloodshot eyes. Wait, the Church? Really? Okay.

Then of course the aftermath came.

Churches want Murugi sacked over gay remarks

More than 74 churches have petitioned President Kibaki to sack Cabinet minister Esther Murugi over her last week remarks on gay rights in the country. The churches, under the aegis of the Federation of Evangelical Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya (FEICCK) warned of street demonstrations against the Ms Murugi, the Special Programmes minister. In a statement, Dr Methu said Ms Murugi discredited her reputation and was unfit to hold public office. … “This should happen in the shortest time possible; failure to which we shall not be left with any other option other than to ask those who care about righteousness and morality to demonstrate against her, “said FEICCK chairman Bishop Dr Joseph.

And then people wrote letters saying God will destroy us and that now gays & prostitutes are ‘allowed’.

Wow. Ok let me get this straight, we shall be destroyed for accepting gays and prostitutes. Hmmm.. the new constitution allows gays and prostitutes. Ok. Unless I’m daft, isn’t sex work (yeah, that’s the correct term to use, not prostitution-its derogatiory-in a way) like the oldest profession ever? And oh.. ohh… how do you allow something that already existed? huh?

I don’t wanna write much. All I see here is HATE. And with hate like such comes DISCRIMINATION (based on one’s sexual inclination or behaviour) and Hate Motivated Violence / Hate Crimes! I am not going to talk about oh gays are like this or oh sex workers are like that, am gonna talk about this hate that is brewing and still exists within the Church.

Say NO to HATE!

Church and Hate. Those two words just don’t fit. But its exactly what we’re seeing. I wonder. Is this the way we treat “our brethren”? With so much hate? I mean, okay, its a sin. They’re sinning. But surely, as God looks down upon us and sees us condeming people, judging them and calling them “devils incarnates” what are we telling Him? That we are now at His level and can judge others? That oh, LOVE is nooothing! Lets hate on the gays and prostitutes. For the Bible tells me so. Huh!!!

Let me tell you one thing. One of the reasons why I lost faith in religion is such things. If I am to “love one another as I love myself” then surely, is this such a treatment I’d want to receive? Sinner or not? Is that how Jesus treated sinners? Didn’t he love them and embrace them? He never condemned them at all! I am just … aargh! Don’t even ask. I could go on and on.

Please note, I am not saying that gays and prostitutes are sinning or not sinning. That’s not my job. Mine is to ensure that regardless of their behaviour (if you choose to call it that) I still want to ensure that their humanity is upheld and that they’re treated with dignity. In a world of many a variety of people, the one thing that we always will be, one thing that we should always keep in mind is OUR HUMANITY. Lets not treat others as lesser humans. Its just wrong.

I have my reservations about what I feel about gays and prostitutes. But they are human and should be treated as such. Scorning them and saying that they should be burnt (coz it says so in some holy book) is plain inhuman. No one would want to be treated as such.

I shall pen off. And promise to continue another day.

p.s. I have added links to words thanks to Zemanta.

*Over & Out*

May 17th is IDAHO

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The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every May 17 around the world.

It is coordinated by the Paris based “IDAHO Committee” founded and presided by French academics, Louis-Georges Tin. It is celebrated in more than 50 countries in the world, and recognised officially by the European Union, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Mexico, Costa-Rica, etc.

The international day against homophobia aims to coordinate international events to call respect for lesbians and gays worldwide. Unlike theLGBT Pride Day, which is meant to emphasise proudness of one’s sexuality and refusal to be ashamed of it, IDAHO is held to highlight:

“ “… that in reality it is homophobia that is shameful and must be deconstructed in its social logic and fought against openly.” ”

May 17 was chosen as the day of the event because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17, 1990.[3]

(Source: Wikipedia)

Today marks an important day in the calendars of the LGBTI community and other supportive mainstream human rights organisations and movements. It is a day, as stated in the above text, set aside for all LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual and Intersex) persons to stand in solidarity against homophobia and transphobia.

Here in Kenya, the day is being commemorated by KHRC (Kenya Human Rights Commission), the one led by L.Muthoni Wanyeki and GALCK (Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya). I think there is something about it on their websites. This year, Kenya is paying particular focus on Transgender and Transphobia. There is also a newspaper Feature by The Standard on today’s paper. Sadly, thanks to useless website they have, I can’t find a link.

Kenyans know little about this day and its events and more-so the reason why it is commemorated. I do not intend to make a lengthy post about it but I would like to highlight a few things to note.

First, we remember the debacle that happened in Mtwapa in the recent past. That was outright homophobia in action. But first, lets see these two words in definition (Wikipedia).

Homophobia: Homophobia is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards homosexuality and people identified or perceived as being homosexual. Definitions refer variably to antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear. Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such asdiscrimination and violence on the basis of a non-heterosexual orientation. In a 1998 address, author, activist, and civil rights leader Coretta Scott Kingstated that “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.”

Transphobia: Transphobia (or less commonly, transprejudice and trans-misogyny, the latter referring to transphobia directed toward transwomen) refers to discrimination against transsexualism and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity (see Phobia – terms indicating prejudice or class discrimination). Whether intentional or not, transphobia can have severe consequences for the target of the negative attitude. Many transpeople also experience homophobia from people who incorrectly associate their gender identity with homosexuality. Attacking someone on the basis of a perception of their gender identity rather the perception of their sexual orientation is known as “trans-bashing,” as opposed to “gay bashing.”

What happened in Mtwapa was indeed homophobia, based on religious fundamentalism and extremism. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has a right to religion but the most basic right of all is the one found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I mentioned it here. It is clear that none should infringe on these basic rights, which include freedom of conscience and right to privacy. These are but some of the rights that sexual minorities (the general term used to describe minority groups marginalized on a sexual basis, including sex workers) are not accorded to and further more are infringed upon by society.

It is my wish that, as this day is marked and passes, that we as Kenyans and more so as human beings, can reach into our human core and say NO TO HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA. This cause is important and it is imperative that we all understand why every human being should be free from such acts of human rights violations.

And with that, I rest my case. I have been lax on writing about human rights and my activism but I hope I shed more light on this aspect of our lives as time goes by.

Thank you for reading and for supporting. I am very happy to interact with such wonderful persons such as YOU GUYS!!!

XOXO!

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